Jesus Criticizes Some Jewish Leaders (Luke 11:37-54).
37 After Jesus spoke, a Pharisee invited him to have lunch at his house. So Jesus accepted the invitation. 38 The Pharisee was surprised to see that Jesus didn’t wash before the meal.
39 The Lord said to him, “You Pharisees clean the outside of cups and dishes. But inside you are full of greed and evil. 40 You fools! Didn’t the one who made the outside make the inside too? 41 Give what is inside as a gift to the poor, and then everything will be clean[a] for you.
42 “How horrible it will be for you Pharisees! You give God one-tenth of your mint, spices, and every garden herb. But you have ignored justice and the love of God. You should have done these things without ignoring the others.
43 “How horrible it will be for you Pharisees! You love to sit in the front seats in the synagogues and to be greeted in the marketplaces. 44 How horrible it will be for you! You are like unmarked graves. People walk on them without knowing what they are.”
45 One of the experts in Moses’ Teachings said to him, “Teacher, when you talk this way, you insult us too.”
46 Jesus said, “How horrible it will be for you experts in Moses’ Teachings! You burden people with loads that are hard to carry. But you won’t lift a finger to carry any of these loads.
47 “How horrible it will be for you! You build the monuments for the prophets. But it was your ancestors who murdered them. 48 So you are witnesses and approve of what your ancestors did. They murdered the prophets for whom you build monuments. 49 That’s why the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles. They will murder some of those prophets and apostles and persecute others.’ 50 So the people living now will be charged with the murder of every prophet since the world was made. 51 This includes the murders from Abel to Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the temple. Yes, I can guarantee this truth: The people living today will be held responsible for this.
52 “How horrible it will be for you experts in Moses’ Teachings! You have taken away the key that unlocks knowledge. You haven’t gained entrance into knowledge yourselves, and you’ve kept out those who wanted to enter.”
53 When Jesus left, the experts in Moses’ Teachings and the Pharisees held a terrible grudge against him. They questioned him about many things 54 and watched him closely to trap him in something he might say.
Strong words from Jesus!
If these words were spoken to us by someone else, we might well say, ‘Why don’t you take a good look at yourself before you start saying all these things about us?’
Jesus spoke with power because He lived with integrity. There was no gap between what He said and how He lived. At every point, His words were backed up by His life. This is where His power came from.
What about us? Are we learning to love Jesus more?
When we need to speak such words, will we speak with the spirit of Jesus? He wasn’t trying to drive people away from God. He was saying to them, ‘Get real with God.’
We need to hear such words. When we hear them, may we hear an echo of the words of Jesus. May we hear more than a word that condemns us and leaves us feeling that we have failed miserably. May we hear the call to come out of the illusion of our hypocrisy and into the reality of true discipleship. May we hear this call as Jesus’s call of love. He says, “You weren’t meant for this. You were meant for something more than this.’ May we hear His voice of love, calling us to a closer walk with Him. He calls us in love. He calls us to holiness. May He give us grace to say ‘Yes’ to His love. May He give us grace to say ‘Yes’ to His holiness.